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Pirates notebook: Chad Kuhl throws two 'clean' innings for Pirates

Kevin Gorman
| Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, 6:24 p.m.
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl delivers during spring training in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl delivers during spring training in Bradenton, Fla.
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl delivers during spring training in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl delivers during spring training in Bradenton, Fla.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Chad Kuhl wasn't keeping a pitch count, but he made short work of the Boston Red Sox.

Kuhl relied on his fastball in starting and throwing two scoreless innings, and he left the 4-3 loss Wednesday at JetBlue Park at Fenway South feeling the same way his pitching line looked.

"It felt smooth, felt clean," Kuhl said. "I got into a rhythm early, just throwing a ton of fastballs. I came out clean and felt good."

Kuhl was happy with the command on his fastball command, even if his success prevented him from throwing his changeup much.

#Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl, on nice defensive plays behind him by LF Bryce Brentzand 2B Kevin Newman: pic.twitter.com/vmq1jAmTKL

— Kevin Gorman (@KGorman_Trib) February 28, 2018

"They were swinging at the heaters early, so I didn't have too many deep counts where I could get into it," Kuhl said. "I threw a couple sliders, threw a curveball in the short time I was out there. Make sure that the changeup remains a point of emphasis."

Kuhl needed only 18 pitches – 12 for strikes – to retire the side twice, four in three pitches or less.

"He was very crisp," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "First-pitch strikes were in a good place."

Trevor Williams struck out the first two batters he faced but wasn't happy about giving up a single to Austin Rei, walking Brock Holt and allowing an RBI double to Xander Bogaerts in the third, after which he was pulled.

"It didn't help him, but why would he be worked about his first spring training outing to start with?" Hurdle said. "He didn't miss. I thought all of his pitches were around the plate. From my standpoint, it was good to see him on the mound. He threw 30 pitches in one inning, so we filled up the basket — and I know he'll be better next time out."

Numbers game

Pirates third base coach Joey Cora switched from jersey No. 15 to No. 28 this season so he could wear the same number as his brother, new Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

When the Red Sox signed J.D. Martinez, however, he wanted to wear No. 28 so Alex switched to No. 20. That became a problem, as that number is retired by the Pirates in honor of Hall of Fame third baseman Pie Traynor.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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